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Can Mentoring Help Female Assistant Professors? Interim Results from a Randomized Trial

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Janet M. Currie
  • Rachel T.A. Croson
  • Donna K. Ginther

Abstract

While much has been written about the potential benefits of mentoring in academia, very little research documents its effectiveness. We present data from a randomized controlled trial of a mentoring program for female economists organized by the Committee for the Status of Women in the Economics Profession and sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Economics Association. To our knowledge, this is the first randomized trial of a mentoring program in academia. We evaluate the performance of three cohorts of participants and randomly-assigned controls from 2004, 2006, and 2008. This paper presents an interim assessment of the program's effects. Our results suggest that mentoring works. After five years the 2004 treatment group averaged .4 more NSF or NIH grants and 3 additional publications, and were 25 percentage points more likely to have a top-tier publication. There are significant but smaller effects at three years post-treatment for the 2004 and 2006 cohorts combined. While it is too early to assess the ultimate effects of mentoring on the academic careers of program participants, the results suggest that this type of mentoring may be one way to help women advance in the Economics profession and, by extension, in other male-dominated academic fields.

Suggested Citation

  • Francine D. Blau & Janet M. Currie & Rachel T.A. Croson & Donna K. Ginther, 2010. "Can Mentoring Help Female Assistant Professors? Interim Results from a Randomized Trial," NBER Working Papers 15707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15707
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1346-1366, December.
    2. Donna K. Ginther & Shulamit Kahn, 2004. "Women in Economics: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 193-214, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph, 2014. "Does gender matter for political leadership? The case of U.S. mayors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 24-39.
    2. D. Checchi & S. Cicognani & N. Kulic, 2015. "Gender quotas or girls’ networks? Towards an understanding of recruitment in the research profession in Italy," Working Papers wp1047, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Karen Mumford & Cristina Sechel, 2017. "Pay, Rank and Job Satisfaction amongst Academic Economists in the UK," Discussion Papers 17/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Fernanda L. L. de Leon & Ben McQuillin, 2014. "The role of conferences on the pathway to academic impact: Evidence from a natural experiment," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-08, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    5. Gaule, Patrick & Piacentini, Mario, 2017. "An Advisor Like Me? Advisor Gender and Post-Graduate Careers in Science," IZA Discussion Papers 10828, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Zacchia, Giulia, 2016. "Segregation or homologation? Gender differences in recent Italian economic thought," MPRA Paper 72279, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Comeig, Irene & Grau-Grau, Alfredo & Jaramillo-Gutiérrez, Ainhoa & Ramírez, Federico, 2016. "Gender, self-confidence, sports, and preferences for competition," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 1418-1422.
    8. Hale, Galina & Regev, Tali, 2014. "Gender ratios at top PhD programs in economics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 55-70.
    9. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos-Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2017. "Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1207-1238, April.
    10. Hunt, Jennifer & Garant, Jean-Philippe & Herman, Hannah & Munroe, David J., 2013. "Why are women underrepresented amongst patentees?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 831-843.
    11. Lane, Julia I. & Owen-Smith, Jason & Rosen, Rebecca F. & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2015. "New linked data on research investments: Scientific workforce, productivity, and public value," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1659-1671.
    12. Bransch, Felix & Kvasnicka, Michael, 2017. "Male Gatekeepers Gender Bias in the Publishing Process?," IZA Discussion Papers 11089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Jordi Brandts & Valeska Groenert & Christina Rott, 2012. "The Impact of Advice on Women's and Men's Selection into Competition," Working Papers 663, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    14. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:4:p:805-813 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Charles M. Becker & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Mingyu Chen, 2014. "Can a Summer Make a Difference? The Impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on Minority Student Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 20407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jordi Brandts & Valeska Groener & Christina Rott, 2012. "The impact of advice on women's and men's selection into competition," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 912.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    17. Hensvik, Lena, 2011. "Manager impartiality? Worker-firm matching and the gender wage gap," Working Paper Series 2011:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    18. Julia Muschallik & Kerstin Pull, 2016. "Mentoring in higher education: does it enhance mentees’ research productivity?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 210-223, April.
    19. Jordi Brandts & Cristina Rott, 2017. "Advice from Women and Men and Selection into Competition," Working Papers 1007, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    20. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Riekhof, Marie-Catherine & Voss, Rüdiger, 2017. "Professional identity and the gender gap in risk-taking: Evidence from a field experiment with scientists," Kiel Working Papers 2077, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    21. David S. Lyle & John Z. Smith, 2014. "The Effect of High-Performing Mentors on Junior Officer Promotion in the US Army," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 229-258.
    22. Susan Payne Carter & Whitney Dudley & David S. Lyle & John Z. Smith, 2016. "Who's the Boss? The Effect of Strong Leadership on Employee Turnover," NBER Working Papers 22383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Rouse, Cecilia Elena & Chen, Mingyu, 2016. "Can a summer make a difference? The impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on minority student outcomesAuthor-Name: Becker, Charles M," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 46-71.
    24. Eesley, Charles & Wang, Yanbo, 2017. "Social influence in career choice: Evidence from a randomized field experiment on entrepreneurial mentorship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 636-650.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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